World Cup Bonding With Sam's Army


It was either a chance to steal a few moments from a working Friday, or tangible evidence of Americans’ growing interest in the 2010 World Cup.

Sam’s Army was down a couple to Slovenia, when reported that Landon Donovan had scored in the 48th minute. About 10 minutes later three of us had gravitated to the TV in the 12th floor lobby. Then a couple more, en route to the vending machines or the rest rooms, walked by, took care of business, and joined us.

Loud oohs, aahs and laments invited a few more to the party. About 10 of us exclaimed as Michael Bradley, the midfielder and coach’s son, half-volleyed in the equalizer in the 82nd minute. From there, 10 or more rushed to the not-so small screen. Whoops of delirium and arms thrusting skyward greeted what appeared to be Maurice Edu’s game-winner off a header from Jozy Altidore on a nice free kick service from Donovan.

Offsides? It didn’t appear to anyone watching in the lobby of our offices on 28th Street or the telecast announcers that the action should have warranted such a call. Replays suggested that the U.S. had been jobbed. A subsequent game report indicated that the Malian referee might have disallowed it over a foul. Maybe!

As Sam’s new band of brothers and sisters disbanded to return to the work at hand, if not foot, ESPN executives in Bristol and South Africa no doubt issued a sigh of relief. The result might not have been as beneficial as Mexico’s 2-0 win over France in Group A proceedings was for Univision and its prospective audiences, but the U.S. draw was certainly welcome. The Yanks still have a chance to advance from Group C, making its June 23 match at 10 a.m. (ET) against Algeria must-see TV on ESPN.

Whether at home or in the lobby at 28th Street!